The Vegas Golden Knights and Vancouver Canucks will meet for the second time in less than a week Thursday night, this time north of the border.
The puck will drop five days after the Golden Knights defeated the visiting Canucks 6-3 as Max Pacioretty had two goals and two assists to help him earn the NHL’s First Star of the Week honors. Vegas improved to 8-0-1 all-time against Vancouver.
Both teams played Tuesday, with Vegas winning 3-2 at home against Minnesota while the host Canucks dropped a 3-1 decision to Montreal.
Pacioretty has 15 goals and 20 assists in 37 games, putting him on pace for what would be a career-high 78 points. He twice has totaled 67 points.
“I think I’ve gotten my opportunities pretty much the entire year,” Pacioretty told reporters after Sunday’s game against Vancouver. “I’m obviously playing on a really good line with two really good players and getting a ton of opportunities. That’s kind of my job is to make sure that I finish those opportunities.”
Pacioretty (five goals, four assists) and linemate Mark Stone (one goal, seven assists) are both riding five-game point streaks.
The Golden Knights have won three in a row and are 8-2-1 in their past 11 games as they open a two-game trip that includes a stop Sunday in San Jose.
“I think we’ve been playing pretty solid here the last little while, more like how we want to, more consistent,” said goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who has 453 career victories, one shy of tying Curtis Joseph for sixth on the NHL’s all-time list. “I think it’s big for us. It just gives us a chance to win every night. It’s fun to watch the guys go out there and score big goals.”
The Canucks are headed in the opposite direction, having lost three in a row and four of their past five.
“Frustration is going to happen and rightfully so,” Canucks coach Travis Green said. “I don’t mind frustration. Our team should be. … You have to raise your game. At times like this you have to raise your game, every person.”
After beginning the month in a playoff spot, the Canucks have dropped to 11th in the Western Conference.
“The team knows when we are playing the right way and not playing the right way,” said forward J.T. Miller, who has just one goal in his past nine games. “Lately I think we are having more good periods than not. But it stinks not playing with the leads. We have to stay positive.”
The Canucks fired 39 shots on goal against Montreal’s Carey Price, but scored just once in their loss Tuesday.
“We’re learning how hard it is to win and how hard you have to play to win,” Green said. “When you go through adversity, you learn a lot about your group and individuals get to look in the mirror and see what they can do better.”
The Golden Knights’ Cody Eakin is listed as out while fellow center Cody Glass is day-to-day, both with upper-body injuries.
–Field Level Media